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Supervised dosing with a long-acting opioid medication in the management of opioid dependence

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2017
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (91st percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (71st percentile)

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2 blogs
24 tweeters
1 Facebook page


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173 Mendeley
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Supervised dosing with a long-acting opioid medication in the management of opioid dependence
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2017
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd011983.pub2
Pubmed ID

Rosella Saulle, Simona Vecchi, Linda Gowing


Opioid dependence (OD) is an increasing clinical and public health problem worldwide. International guidelines recommend opioid substitution treatment (OST), such as methadone and buprenorphine, as first-line medication treatment for OD. A negative aspect of OST is that the medication used can be diverted both through sale on the black market, and the unsanctioned use of medications. Daily supervised administration of medications used in OST has the advantage of reducing the risk of diversion, and may promote therapeutic engagement, potentially enhancing the psychosocial aspect of OST, but costs more and is more restrictive on the client than dispensing for off-site consumption. The objective of this systematic review is to compare the effectiveness of OST with supervised dosing relative to dispensing of medication for off-site consumption. We searched in Cochrane Drugs and Alcohol Group Specialised Register and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, Web of Science from inception up to April 2016. Ongoing and unpublished studies were searched via ClinicalTrials.gov (www.clinicaltrials.gov) and World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) (http://www.who.int/ictrp/en/).All searches included non-English language literature. We handsearched references on topic-related systematic reviews. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), controlled clinical trials (CCTs), and prospective controlled cohort studies, involving people who are receiving OST (methadone, buprenorphine) and comparing supervised dosing with dispensing of medication to be consumed away from the dispensing point, usually without supervision. We used the standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane. Six studies (four RCTs and two prospective observational cohort studies), involving 7999 participants comparing supervised OST treatment with unsupervised treatment, met the inclusion criteria. The risk of bias was generally moderate across trials, but the results reported on outcomes that we planned to consider were limited. Overall, we judged the quality of the evidence from very low to low for all the outcomes.We found no difference in retention at any duration with supervised compared to unsupervised dosing (RR 0.99, 95% CI 0.88 to 1.12, 716 participants, four trials, low-quality evidence) or in retention in the shortest follow-up period, three months (RR 0.94; 95% CI 0.84 to 1.05; 472 participants, three trials, low-quality evidence). Additional data at 12 months from one observational study found no difference in retention between groups (RR 0.94, 95% CI 0.77 to 1.14; n = 300).There was no difference in abstinence at the end of treatment (self-reported drug use) (67% versus 60%, P = 0.33, 293 participants, one trial, very low-quality evidence); and in diversion of medication (5% versus 2%, 293 participants, one trial, very low-quality evidence).Regarding our secondary outcomes, we did not found a difference in the incidence of adverse effects in the supervised compared to unsupervised control group (RR 0.63; 96% CI 0.10 to 3.86; 363 participants, two trials, very low-quality evidence). Data on severity of dependence were very limited (244 participants, one trial) and showed no difference between the two approaches. Data on deaths were reported in two studies. One trial reported two deaths in the supervised group (low-quality evidence), while in the cohort study all-cause mortality was found lower in regular supervision group (crude mortality rate 0.60 versus 0.81 per 100 person-years), although after adjustment insufficient evidence existed to suggest that regular supervision was protective (mortality rate ratio = 1.23, 95% CI = 0.67 to 2.27).No studies reported pain symptoms, drug craving, aberrant opioid-related behaviours, days of unsanctioned opioid use and overdose. Take-home medication strategies are attractive to treatment services due to lower costs, and place less restrictions on clients, but it is unknown whether they may be associated with increased risk of diversion and unsanctioned use of medication. There is uncertainty about the effects of supervised dosing compared with unsupervised medication due to the low and very low quality of the evidence for the primary outcomes of interest for this review. Data on defined secondary outcomes were similarly limited. More research comparing supervised and take-home medication strategies is needed to support decisions on the relative effectiveness of these strategies. The trials should be designed and conducted with high quality and over a longer follow-up period to support comparison of strategies at different stages of treatment. In particular, there is a need for studies assessing in more detail the risk of diversion and safety outcomes of using supervised OST to manage opioid dependence.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 173 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 173 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 32 18%
Student > Bachelor 23 13%
Researcher 20 12%
Student > Ph. D. Student 17 10%
Student > Doctoral Student 12 7%
Other 34 20%
Unknown 35 20%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 63 36%
Nursing and Health Professions 23 13%
Psychology 17 10%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 6 3%
Social Sciences 5 3%
Other 20 12%
Unknown 39 23%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 25. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 11 July 2018.
All research outputs
of 15,289,877 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 11,170 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 266,466 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 231 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 15,289,877 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 94th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,170 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 22.8. This one has done well, scoring higher than 79% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 266,466 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 91% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 231 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 71% of its contemporaries.